Archive for December, 2007

There were a few rumors as well as bloggers who were pushing for a John MacArthur Study Bible in the ESV translation.  Previously only available in the NASB as well as the NKJV, this study Bible with notes by John MacArthur, whom is widely considered to be one of the greatest living teachers and preachers of God’s word will now be available in a translation more popular than either the NASB or NKJV.  There is no release date of this edition, but there was an agreement reached between Crossway whom publish the ESV and Thomas Nelson Publishers whom publish the MacArthur Study Bible.

Phil Johnson dropped the 411 on the Fide-O blog.  You can peep it here.

BTW, I mean no dis-respect for John MacArthur by calling him Johnny Mac. 


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An Exposition of John 3:16- John Owen

An Exegetical Look at John 3:16- DR. C. Mathew McMahon

The Bondage of the Sinners Will- L.R. Shelton Sr.

John 3:16 (Limited Atonement)- Thomas R. Thompson

Propitiation: The Very Central Heart of the Gospel and Strongly Interposed in John 3:16- Charlie Martin

An Open Letter to Dave Hunt- James White (his exegesis of John 3:16 is about 2/3 of the way down the page)

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The Potters Freedom


Several months ago while discussing the topic of salvation with a non-Reformed friend, I was asked to read Chosen But Free by Norman Geisler. My friend claimed that it was an unbiased treatment of salvation. Boy, was she ever wrong. I bought the book and tried to read it but had to put it down out of fear that I may have to account for the time I spent reading it when I face my savior.

Not long ago I bought a few books, one of which happened to be a rebuttal of Chosen But Free called The Potters Freedom by James R. White of Alpha and Omega Ministries. The book is not only a rebuttal of CBF but is also a presentation and defense of the Reformed faith. It is a well written book that makes the doctrines held to by Calvinists easier to grasp.

Dr. White does a great job of exegesis regarding the important text that are commonly used by by both camps. Dr. White treats the issues raised, as well as Dr. Geisler in a fair fashion. Sadly Dr. Geisler didn’t do the same. The little that I read from his book was filled with misrepresentation and eisegesis. I highly recommend Dr. White’s The Potters Freedom. It is an easy read while providing great scholarly work on the Reformed view of salvation.

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Did Jesus Christ die for the sins of all men or only for the sins of the elect? The Arminian or non-Reformed view of salvation holds to the work of Christ on the cross being as being for all men. In this view, Christ dies for the sins of all men to make salvation possible. It is then made effective upon the acceptance of man, those that reject this gift of salvation are then sent to the eternal flames of hell. What then becomes of those that never heard the gospel? They had their sins paid on calvary but yet never rejected the offer of salvation, do they perish as well? Upon what basis do they, the ones that never heard the gospel and thus never rejected it, get sent to hell since Christ died for their sins as well? Does God take a double payment?

God has received payment for the sins of all men by the sacrifice made by Jesus, he then takes payment from the individual for the very same sins that Jesus already paid, is this not double jeopardy? There are a few problems with holding to a universal atonement. Lets use the American Indian as an example. Prior to the colonization of the north American continent by Spain, France and England in the early part of the 16th century, the Indians did not have anyone presenting them with the gospel and thus did not reject the gospel. If they are then saved because their sins were atoned by Christ then salvation is possible without ever knowing Christ as Lord and savior. If they are not saved and are sent to hell then God is receiving a double payment for those sins.

Among those that hold to a reformed view of salvation the atoning work of Christ is only efficacious for the elect. In my opinion, had God wanted all men without exception to be saved, Jesus would not have to do anymore than he already did but His work is meant only for those whom God predestined unto salvation. Therefore, because God decreed that only those whom He called will be saved, the perfect work of Jesus on the cross is limited only to the elect.

I will be discussing the topic of salvation and try to get into more specifics and provide scriptural references in future posts. I may take the time and go through the Ordo Salutis from the Reformed perspective. Remember… Calvinism is a nick name for biblical Christianity ;-)

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ESV Bibles Now 45% Off MSRP

My Homies at Westminster Theological Seminary Bookstore now have their entire line of ESV Bibles at 45% off.  Click here.

You can now get a Classic Reference or Thinline Bible in premium calfskin for less than anywhere else, even with delivery charges.  The Thinline is only $82.49!

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I am not a Bible scholar. I do not speak, read or write Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic. As a matter of fact, English is my second language. I grew up speaking Spanish until I was about 4 years old. I am not trying to brag but I would say that my English is better than most but not as good as some. That is one reason why I do not really push one translation over another. Yes, I do like the ESV and I do own more ESV’s than other translations but I am advocate of the use of at least four Bible translations, the King James Version, the New American Standard Bible, the English Standard Version and a more dynamic translation like the New Living Translation or the (Todays) New International Version.

Like with many things, the internet provides much that is good as well as what is bad. If not for the ‘net I never would have switched to using the ESV or one of my personal favorites the 1599 Geneva Bible. Blogs in the same manner provide valued information as well as opinion that can be both good and bad. There is much going around about Bible translations and which is the current best. I use “current best” because their will be more translations and more paraphrases to replace the current crop of Bibles. The problem with being too dynamic is that you have a very short shelf life. Reaching todays generation through a relevent translation leaves you about 10 years before your translation is dated. Sooner or later being socially relevant means that sooner, rather than later your will be socially irrelevant. “Ladies and gentlemen… The Rolling Stones.”

What does the future hold for Bible translations? Will paraphrases become the norm? The biggest knock against the King James Version is that it’s language is archaic, nobody speaks like that anymore. I do not believe that the English language has degraded so much so that the KJV is no longer understandable. The ESV too has it’s critics for being too literal or for retaining archaic language. The recent trend in the past thirty years since the introduction of the New International Version has been to introduce translations that are increasingly dynamic. The translations have gone from a more literal, word for word translation to a more dynamic, perhaps more understandable thought for thought translation. So… which is the best for displaying the truth of the revealed word of God?

There is plenty of chatter about which translation to use for public speaking and teaching. In my opinion, more is coming from the those that prefer a dynamic or thought for thought translation. Aside from Wayne Grudem’s vocal criticism of the TNIV, more is heard in the blogosphere about the more literal translations. The NASB is often called wooden or “the Yoda version,” the KJV is barely English, the ESV is “not a new translation but a slightly modernized old translation.” These translations are often knocked for their use of “biblish”, “christianese”, “church speak” or “Bible jargon.” Words like repentance, propitiation, justification and sanctification are no longer cool, dude. Will future translations replace sin with bad karma?

How does the translation we use affect our understanding of scripture as well as how we interact with the world (non believer)? Are we sacrificing true biblical understanding for the sake of the un-repented sinner? Much has been said and written about how to reach the sinner. There are books and seminars, whole movements are behind this proposition of reaching the sinner. Many of the publishers are stating that their translation was created to be readable and understandable, translated in today’s English. Do the Purpose Driven, Seeker Sensitive, Emergent movements go hand-in-hand with the thought for thought translations like the (T)NIV or the NLT? Does the translation we use at church matter in our theology?

How much does the church have to resemble the world before it no longer is the church? In an attempt to be socially relevant many “churches” have totally missed the boat on what Christianity is. There would be few if any church leaders, elders or pastors who hold to fundamental Christianity would ever call the Emergent movement a Christian church. Some would only call the Seeker Sensitive, Purpose Driven movements Christian, with trepidation. In an attempt to make the gospel more presentable and understandable, the truth of the gospel has been diluted. There is no longer a difference between the sacred and the secular. You can now play any music for worship, you can have performance dance for worship. You can invite any secular band to play at your church picnic, then have to remind them not to light a joint on stage because… oh, yeah it’s a church event. The church is conforming to the world and not the other way around, and that is the problem.

Where do we draw the line on how far we take translations? Will it stop with Eugene Peterson’s The Message? Certainly there was never a need to take things that far. If the reason for these new translations is to make Scripture understandable it won’t be long before the Bible is written using LOL, BRB, etc. Or how about a translation written in Cálo for my cholo homies? If the reason for using less and less literal translations is to make Scripture understandable then why not a cholo translation and an ebonics translation? The problem isn’t the translation it’s the teacher. If your pastor is more interested in telling you a funny story than teaching you the Bible, you need to find a new church.

The reason there are Seeker Sensitive “churches” and Purpose Driven “churches and Emergent “communities” is because these men think they have something to do with the salvation of the sinner. It is the Gospel that is the power of God for salvation, not man. Loud music, comfortable chairs, hot coffee, burgers, free amusement rides for the kids… non of it will lead a man to salvation and neither will a “more understandable” translation. The pastor needs to teach, he needs to teach what words like, propitiation, justification, sanctification and repentance mean. If the teacher is teaching, all the hard words and passages in even the King James version will be understandable. It is the pastors responsibility to feed the flock, it is the pastor who is supposed to teach from the word of God and NOT treat it like open mic night.

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The Best ESV Bible Ever Made

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Is it possible that the best ESV Bible has already been made? Best, is of course purely subjective but this is my blog and according to me, the best ESV ever made, is no longer being made. I do not know when the decision was made by my friends at Crossway to nix the Heirloom Reference Edition they decided to no longer print this edition again once their stock was depleted. It is possible that the HRE fell into a black hole between the Single Column Reference and the Large Print Bible. Crossway are not a large publisher and there may have been features that overlapped between these large format editions and maybe they decided to continue forth with new the new editions that would contain the updated ESV text. Or maybe the HRE was a poor seller… I do not know.

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The Heirloom Reference measure in at 6.5″ x 9.25″ x 1.5″. It is slightly larger than the SCR but it is a little thinner, making this edition easier to carry. The paper is among the heaviest paper used by Crossway for any of their editions. It is 27 lbs. paper that is .0020″ thick making it thicker than the paper used in either the SCR or LP. Thicker means more opaque, there is little to no bleed through and holds up quite well to the 05 tip of a pigment liner. The font size is 10.2 which is the largest print available in a non-Large Print edition. It is a double column paragraph format with center column references, a concordance, maps and presentation pages. The best feature in this edition are the wide margins. Well, they are not true wide margins at around 1″ wide but with the use of a very thin pigment liner are quite usable. It also has two ribbon markers.

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The calfskin edition is bound in thick, tough yet soft leather that has been aging amazingly well. It keeps getting softer. The calfskin edition is also Smythe sewn allowing to open freely and flatly, it can also be folded over unto itself which is not possible in most other large Bibles. The calfskin edition is harder to come by but the bonded leather and the hardback can still be had for ridiculously low prices. It has been difficult to find a proper replacement for the Heirloom Reference Edition with either the Single Column Reference or the Large Print Edition, in fact to ensure the longevity of my HRE, I rarely take it out of the safety of my house. Trying to replace all my notes and a Bible that is no longer in print would be quite the task.

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Heirloom Reference Edition

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